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Re: [GTh] A Summary of Goodacre v. DeConick

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  • Achilles37@aol.com
    Hi, Mike - ... Thomas is ostensibly a collection of words Jesus *said* as opposed to a collection of things Jesus *did,* a distinction made by Papias in his
    Message 1 of 5 , Feb 3, 2007
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      Hi, Mike -

      You wrote:

      > Mark asserts that 79a is "out of character" with the rest of Thomas

      Thomas is ostensibly a collection of words Jesus *said* as opposed to a collection of things Jesus *did,* a distinction made by Papias in his discussion of Mark's Gospel, which Jack Kilmon has recently emphasized. But Thomas also records some words that were said *to* Jesus as well, sometimes by people who are identified (such as Peter, Matthew, or Thomas in log. 13) and sometimes by people who are anonymous or indefinite ("a man" in log. 72, "a woman" in log. 79, the disciples, "they"). Thomas also records the words of other women addressing Jesus in log. 21 (Mary) and log. 61 (Salome). So, if the fact that Thomas records the words of a woman addressing Jesus is not out of character in Thomas, then just what is out of character in log. 79a?

      Mark G. writes that "Thomas refers to gynaecological details only here in 79." Well, that may or may not be (and Mark G. notes a couple possible exceptions in his footnote here of Thomas log. 69 and log. 22), but that type of argument is less meaningful when applied to Thomas, since a relatively brief sayings collection bears less of the author's literary tendencies than a longer, biographical gospel. As Mark G. writes, "Thomas does not lend itself easily to methods honed in synoptic criticism over the last century or so." Consequently, the observation that references to "gynaecological details" are lacking in Thomas other than saying 79, while possibly true, is not particularly meaningful. Thomas is replete with instances where a particular word or phrase appears only once in the text.

      What *is* relevant here is that the form of 79a - a blessing with "gynaecological details" - is not uncommon in ancient Judaic literature. Bultmann writes the following (History of the Synoptic Tradition, ET, p. 30):

      *************************************************
      Lk 11:27-28: The Blessing of Mary. The blessing in v. 27 is a widespread feature of Judaism. In Syr. Bar. 54:10 the seer who dreams the vision cries out: 'Blessing to my mother among those that gave birth, And praised among women be she who bore me.' And so Rachel is praised, who bore Joseph (Gen R. 98 (62d)): 'Blessed be the breasts which have so given suck and the body which has thus brought forth' (Strack-B. II, 187). Jochanan b. Zakkai stirred by the oration of his pupils R. Eleazar b. Arach and Jehoshua b. Homeniah cries out: 'praise to thee, Abraham our father, that Eleazar b. Arach was brought forth from thy loins. Hail to thee, and hail to thy mother! Hail to mine eyes, which have seen such things!' (Hag. 14b in Strack-B. I, 663f.). When Messiah comes, Israel will say: 'Blessed is the hour when Messiah is created; blessed be the body from which he comes forth; blessed be the generation that sees him, blessed be the eye that is privileged to look on him' (Pesiq. 149a in Strack-B. I, 161).

      *************************************************

      These types of blessings function as high praise for the person who inspires them. When the woman in the crowd is blessing Mary, she is praising Jesus. Logion 79a in Thomas is an ancient Judaic form of high praise. Now we know that Thomas also contains another ancient Judaic expression of high praise in log. 12 - "for whose sake heaven and earth came into being." Consequently, I would have to say that log. 79a is not "out of character" in Thomas.

      - Kevin Johnson


      -----Original Message-----
      From: mwgrondin@...
      To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Fri, 2 Feb 2007 10:43 AM
      Subject: [GTh] A Summary of Goodacre v. DeConick


      I think that much of this summary has been implied by
      previous notes, but it's always good to put things as
      clearly as possible.

      Goodacre's paper has to do with Th79a, that is, 79.1-2.
      DeConick's position is that the entirety of Th79 belongs
      to an original Thomas "kernel". Had DeConick split Th79
      into two parts and asserted that 79b (i.e., 79.3) was part
      of the kernel, but that 79a was a later accretion, as she
      does with some other sayings, then she and Mark would
      have been as ships passing in the night, no collision implied.
      Why didn't she do that? After all, her reason for believing
      that Th79 is part of the kernel is based on the contents
      of 79.3. Why then, did she not separate 79a from 79b?
      Short of an answer from her, my guess is that the two
      parts were too tightly tied together through the mention
      of "belly and breasts" in both.

      But now having tied 79a and 79b together, the collision
      between her and Mark is this: Mark asserts that 79a is
      "out of character" with the rest of Thomas, while April
      is essentially forced to the position that it isn't. Either
      that or (very improbably) that Thomas has changed so
      much with accretion that while 79a was originally "in
      character" with the rest of the kernel, it's now "out of
      character" in the Coptic version.

      It'd be good (IMO) to see arguments on both sides
      of this specific issue, but I don't think that's what
      we're going to see. DeConick, it seems, will take
      the road of generality, as she has so far. That isn't
      an illegitimate road, but it leaves Mark's "out of
      character" argument without direct and specific
      response.

      Mike



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    • Michael Grondin
      ... STM now that my summary is deficient here and in a related issue that it leaves out. Frank McCoy reminds that the word NEEIATx (the x being a pronoun -
      Message 2 of 5 , Feb 5, 2007
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        In the original note on this thread, I wrote:

        > [Why didn't DeConick] separate 79a from 79b?
        > Short of an answer from her, my guess is that the two
        > parts were too tightly tied together through the mention
        > of "belly and breasts" in both.

        STM now that my summary is deficient here and in a
        related issue that it leaves out. Frank McCoy reminds
        that the word NEEIATx (the x being a pronoun - 'she',
        'they' in this case) occurs in all three subsayings of 79.
        So the parts of the saying are more tightly conjoined
        syntactically than I had suggested. Which leads to a
        question that should be added to the summary for
        balance: is it legitimate to isolate 79a as Mark G. does
        in his paper?

        What I'm suggesting is the possibility of the error
        of selective focus. By focusing on the tail of an
        elephant, we might conclude that it was a very small
        animal indeed. By focusing on 79a alone, Mark
        has avoided a question that might be asked had he
        considered Th79 as a whole, namely "Which is more
        likely: that Luke split Th79 or that the Thomasines
        found and put together separate segments of GLk?"
        I'm not suggesting here that the former is inherently
        more likely, but rather that IF one thinks so, then
        one would be less inclined to be persuaded by the
        arguments in Mark's paper. Because of that, and
        because it raises questions of methodology, it
        might be a good idea to address that in the paper.

        Mike Grondin
      • Mark Goodacre
        Kevin, Thanks for your interesting comments. Some brief responses: ... What is out of character are those things I have drawn attention to in the article. It
        Message 3 of 5 , Feb 7, 2007
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          Kevin,

          Thanks for your interesting comments. Some brief responses:

          On 03/02/07, Achilles37@... <Achilles37@...> wrote:

          > Thomas is ostensibly a collection of words Jesus *said* as opposed to a collection of things Jesus *did,* a distinction made by Papias in his discussion of Mark's Gospel, which Jack Kilmon has recently emphasized. But Thomas also records some words that were said *to* Jesus as well, sometimes by people who are identified (such as Peter, Matthew, or Thomas in log. 13) and sometimes by people who are anonymous or indefinite ("a man" in log. 72, "a woman" in log. 79, the disciples, "they"). Thomas also records the words of other women addressing Jesus in log. 21 (Mary) and log. 61 (Salome). So, if the fact that Thomas records the words of a woman addressing Jesus is not out of character in Thomas, then just what is out of character in log. 79a?

          What is out of character are those things I have drawn attention to in
          the article. It is always possible, in an argument like this, to say,
          "Ah yes, but element x is not uncharacteristic", especially if one
          moves the discussion to generalities. It is characteristic of Thomas
          to have Jesus speaking, to introduce his sayings with "says", as here,
          but that fact does not diminish the importance of the uncharacteristic
          features.

          > Mark G. writes that "Thomas refers to gynaecological details only here in 79." Well, that may or may not be (and Mark G. notes a couple possible exceptions in his footnote here of Thomas log. 69 and log. 22), but that type of argument is less meaningful when applied to Thomas, since a relatively brief sayings collection bears less of the author's literary tendencies than a longer, biographical gospel. As Mark G. writes, "Thomas does not lend itself easily to methods honed in synoptic criticism over the last century or so." Consequently, the observation that references to "gynaecological details" are lacking in Thomas other than saying 79, while possibly true, is not particularly meaningful. Thomas is replete with instances where a particular word or phrase appears only once in the text.

          The mention here of "a particular word of phrase" helps focus the
          issue. I am attempting to show that it is not just a question here of
          a word here and a word there but theme, imagery, nuance. In my
          opinion, one of the difficulties with some of the standard discussions
          about dependence is that they are too focused on just the odd word or
          phrase rather than clusters of features.

          > What *is* relevant here is that the form of 79a - a blessing with "gynaecological details" - is not uncommon in ancient Judaic literature. Bultmann writes the following (History of the Synoptic Tradition, ET, p. 30):

          Thanks for the useful quotation from Bultmann. But note that what is
          "not uncommon in ancient Judaic literature" does not necessarily help
          us in this specific case. It is common in early Jewish literature to
          quote the Hebrew Bible, but Thomas practically never does. What we
          need to look at are the specifics of the case.

          All best
          Mark
          --
          Mark Goodacre Goodacre@...
          Associate Professor
          Duke University
          Department of Religion
          118 Gray Building / Box 90964
          Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
          Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530

          http://NTGateway.com/goodacre
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